Health chiefs gave the new
Outraged nurses at the Royal Alexandra Hospital (RAH) in Paisley, western Scotland, have blown the whistle on the coronavirus ‘fiasco’ which was dubbed ‘an absolute slap in the face to all frontline staff’.
They revealed that nurses, anaesthetists and surgeons had not been given the
A nurse insider said: ‘The events of the last two days have left me and my colleagues outraged.
‘My nursing colleagues and I came on duty yesterday hoping that the much-awaited vaccinations would start.
‘We were astonished to find out that the management had given covid vaccines to administration and estate staff before frontline nurses and doctors.’
They added that the move went against national guidelines which say that health and social care workers, older care home residents and the over 80s should be the first to be vaccinated.
‘These guidelines expressly state the frontline staff who have face-to-face contact with patients must be vaccinated as a priority,’ the insider said.
Coronavirus vaccine priority list
The UK’s Joint Committee on Vaccination and Immunisation (JCVI) has drawn up advice on who should first be offered the jab.
The priorities for the first wave of vaccinations, which run from this month to February, are:
- Those delivering the vaccination programme
- Frontline health and social care staff
- Older residents in care homes
- Care home staff
- All those aged 80 and over
- Unpaid carers and personal assistants
‘So you can imagine our astonishment when we found out that clerical staff who have no contact with patients have been vaccinated.
‘Medical records staff who work in the basement and never see a patient, never mind have face-to-face contact, or estates staff, who actually work in a separate building, or medical physics staff, who repair equipment, all have been vaccinated.’
The Pfizer/BioNTech vaccine was approved for use by the UK Medicines and Healthcare Product Regulatory Agency (MHRA) earlier this month.
The vaccine is given in two doses three weeks apart and has already been given to around 500,000 Britons.
The RAH nurse spoke out as the number of Covid-19 deaths in Renfrewshire topped 300.
The devastating milestone was reached in the week to December 14 when a further 11 people lost their lives to the virus.
The death toll now stands at 306.
Overall in Scotland, more than 114,000 people have tested positive for coronavirus and there have been just over 4,000 deaths.
Speaking just weeks after it was revealed that dozens of staff and patients at the RAH had been infected with Covid-19, the whistle blower added: ‘For the last nine months, the nursing staff have been in close contact with covid positive patients, putting our lives on the line everyday.
‘Many nurses have become covid positive and have had to go off sick leaving us short staffed but we have carried on. Patients are our priority.
‘This is an absolute slap in the face to all frontline staff.
‘We have written to senior members of the health board and government but I am afraid that this will just be swept under the carpet.’
The news of the vaccine snub triggered outrage.
Scottish Greens MSP for the West of Scotland Ross Greer said: ‘Any NHS staff likely to come into contact with a covid-positive patient should be prioritised for the vaccine, whether they are clinical staff or not.
‘It is no wonder though that clinical staff, who have put their lives on the line and been repeatedly refused regular testing, are alarmed when they see others who are not working with patients be put ahead of them.
They revealed that nurses, anaesthetists and surgeons had not been given the Pfizer jab, while staff in medical records and estates management – who do not deal with patients – had been given the new vaccine first
‘The health board and hospital management need to immediately explain exactly why they’ve made this decision and ensure that they are following national guidelines on how the vaccine should be rolled out.’
Author Marion Shoard, who has researched the Scottish health and care system for 20 years, said: ‘This situation is outrageous.
We are still seeing hospital doctors and nurses catching covid at work and dying as a result.
‘At the same time, transmission from frontline healthcare staff could be responsible for some of the thousands of cases in which patients have caught Covid-19 while in hospital.
‘Add to this mounting concern that people are put off turning up at A&E for fear of catching the virus and so missing out on treatment even for serious conditions like a heart attack or stroke, and you see why it’s so important that vaccinating hospital doctors and nurses is of the utmost importance.’
A NHS Greater Glasgow spokesman said: ‘We strictly adhere to national prioritisation guidelines for the vaccine.
‘In line with this guidance and following a risk assessment, any member of staff – clinical or non-clinical – who either directly works on, or is deemed to have contact with a Covid-19 red pathway, can receive the vaccine.
‘The risk assessment also allows for high-risk, BAME and staff over the age of 65 to be vaccinated.
‘This is the arrangement we have used to offer the vaccine across all NHS Greater Glasgow and Clyde sites, including the Royal Alexandra Hospital.’